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Studies and Reports > 2009 MN Biennial Report > WC Planning Zone > Tracking Number. 2003-WC-N7

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Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.4: West Central Zone
p. 144

6.4.4 Panther Area

Tracking Number. 2003-WC-N7

Utility. Great River Energy

Inadequacy. This area is characterized by long 69 kV transmission lines from remote 115/69 kV sources with one 230/69 kV source at Panther in the middle of the system. Although load growth in this area is slow, several relatively large spot loads are present near Danube and Olivia. As described in the 2007 Biennial Report, the area experiences near term low voltage problems in the Hector area for the loss of the Bird Island to Hector 69 kV line. Recently a 7.2 MVAr capacitor bank was installed at Hector. This installation pushed the need for voltage support in this area up to the 2013 timeframe. The 2003 and 2007 GRE long range plan studies of the area showed that the Panther 230/69 kV transformer overloads in the 2021 timeframe for the loss of the Birch Lake to Franklin 69 kV line.

A map of the area is shown following this section.

Alternatives. As described in the 2007 Biennial Report, a second 230/69 kV transformer was recommended to be installed at the Panther substation in the 2019 timeframe. The addition of a new Spicer 230/69 kV source with the addition of associated transmission lines from Spicer to Atwater (see Willmar-Litchfield-Paynesville Area Tracking Number 2003-WC-N5) relieves the Panther transformer loading and extends the need for a second transformer at Panther by a number of years from 2019.

Currently only one alternative is developed to address the low voltage issues in the Hector area. This option as described in the 2007 Biennial Report recommends constructing about ten miles of 115 kV line from McLeod to Brownton and establishing a 115/69 kV source at Brownton. This source keeps the voltage at Hector above the low voltage criteria during contingencies in the area.

Distributed generation is not a desirable alternative for this area as most of the loads in this area are at a long distance from the sources and the 69 kV system has weak voltage during contingency. The preferred alternative, unlike the distributed generation option, reduces the line exposure between the sources and puts the loads in closer distance from the sources. Distributed generation would need to be installed at a number of distribution substation sites to improve voltage and have an impact equal to the preferred solution. This would require a significant investment which makes the distributed generation option by far a more expensive option than the preferred option.

Analysis. Recent capacitor bank installation at Hector and the slower pace of load growth in the area have pushed the need for voltage support to the Hector area up to the 2013 timeframe. The McLeod to Brownton 115 kV line including the Brownton source is required in the 2013 timeframe to keep the voltage at Hector and neighboring distribution substation within the required voltage limits.

Schedule. The Brownton to McLeod 115 kV line including the Brownton 115/69 kV source is recommended to be in-service in the 2013 timeframe. Any 115 kV line over ten miles will require a Certificate of Need from the Public Utilities Commission.


Transmission Projects Report 2009
Section 6.4: West Central Zone
p. 146

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